$593 Million Settlements from Big Pharma

     JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Missouri will get $10.6 million from settlements with AstraZeneca and Novartis Pharmaceuticals, which pushed drugs for off-label uses, the state’s attorney general announced. Both settlements involve multiple states and the federal government, for a total of $593 million.

     AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals will pay $8.9 million and Novartis Pharmaceuticals will pay $1.7 million, under the separate agreements.
     Doctors can prescribe drugs for uses other than those approved by the FDA, but drug companies are not allowed to push drugs for off-label uses.
     AstraZeneca’s settlement was part of a $520 million payout to several states and the federal government for its marketing of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel.
     AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel for aggression, Alzheimer’s, anger management, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia and sleeplessness.
     The money will reimburse Medicaid and other health-care programs that were damaged by the marketing practices.
     Novartis settles pushed its cystic fibrosis drug, tobramycin, more commonly known as TOBI, for off-label uses. It is part of a $72.5 million settlement involving 49 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government. Investigators said Novartis promoted the drug for other diseases and for unapproved use in cystic fibrosis patients younger than 6.

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